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without some extraordinary Assistance of the Grace of God, we are not able so much as to Comprebend any Thing of thefe kind of Instructions as we ought to do. But to bring a willing and ready Disposițion of Mind to receive the Word; to become such an Auditor, as not only speculatively to learn the great Truths of Christianity, but to resolve ef feftually to put them in Pra&tice too; this must certainly be the Work of God upon our Hearts, and 'tis his Grace alone that can both enlighten our Understandings, and incline our Wills. · And here therefore we may see at once, both the necessity of this last Disposition, our Prayer to God for his Grace ; and in that the true Cause why fomany make no better an Advantage by their Hearing. They come to the Church as if they were going into a Theatre, where they had nothing to do but attend to what is spoken, to render them every way competent Auditors of it. But alas ! The Divine Truths that are here de
delivered, are above the Difcernment i Cor. xi. 14. of the Carnal Mind : Spiritual Things
must be Spiritually Understood: Such'Auditors as these, like the Scribes and Pharisees among the Jews, may hear our Words as they did our Blessed Saviour's ; but they will not be
.. at all the better for them. God must Acts xvi. 14. open their Hearts, as he did that of
Lydia ; and then our Addresses will find a suitable Admittance, and not pass without a due and careful Consideration. And our Prayers
to God must obtain this, Who will not Luke xi. 13. fail to give his Holy Spirit to them that
ask him. And now, How shall we wonder, if the Seed, though never so carefully Sown, produce yet but a very mean Increase, when, God knows, for the
most part the Ground is fo utterly unprepared to receive it? This certainly is a Consideration that ought to engage every good Christian seriously to search and examine himself, how he is difpofed to become a fitting Hearer of the Goppel of Chrift. i .
If you have therefore hitherto come to our Afa Semblies, without such a due Preparation as you see is thus necessary to qualify your Minds to receive that Benefit you ought from these Instructions, let me now earnestly beseech you no longer to deceive your own Souls, but to prepare them in such a manner that our Preaching may not be in vain to you. Let not any little, unworthy designs Accompany you to these Holy Exercises ; But come as befits Christians, with Charity, withi Húmility, with an Honest and Upright Heart ; fincerely desirous of Understanding your Duty, how mean soever the Person be that is to deliver it unto you.
But above all, come with a firm Resolution of Practising what you Hear. Remember, that 'tis this Christianity designs in all its Instructions ; And however our Zeal in these latter Days seems unhappily engaged, more in the Pursuit of Divine Truth, than in what I could rather wish we did chiefly aim at, the Practice of a Divine Life ; yet let us be careful fo to maintain the One, as not to prejudice or overthrow the other.
And if we thus sincerely direct all our Hearing to the Glory of God, and our own 'Everlasting Salvation, we shall not fail to Hear as we ought to do. God will open our Ears, and illuminate our Understandings, and dispose our Wills. The Seed that is Sown upon such Ground, thall nor fail to Spring up into a Blessed Increase ; And prod..ce
those Fruits of Holiness in this Life, which shall finally bring us to the Everlasting Foys and Glories of the next. Which God of his Infinite Mercy vouchsafe unto
us, through the Merits of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. To whom, &c.
SE R M O N II.
Of the Benefit and Practice of
Preached at White-Hall
, before the Princefs of Denmark, February 26. 1687-8.
DEUT. XXXII. 29.
O that they were Wise, that they understood
this, that they would consider their latter End!
THE Words are part of that great Song
which Mofes spake unto
fore his Death, and by God's express Command left with them, as his last and best Legacy to them and their Pofterity for ever.
· A Song both in its self so considerable, and so highly esteem'd by them, that they thought no Words could be sufficient to set forth its Excellency: Insomuch, that we find it at this Day. characterised by the Jews of our own Times, as † the Foundation and Summary of the whole Law..
In the Verses before the Text, we have a fad and terrible Declaration of those Fudgments that should hereafter befal them for their Impenitence. And it is not to be question’d, but that this great Prophet, from whom God never concealed any Thing that concern'd that people, had hereby so much a more particular Prospect of those Evils that were afterwards to come upon them, as he was now the nearer to be taken from them. And that 'tis from these therefore, that we must derive at once both the Occasion and Importance of that passionate Wish into which the Holy Man here breaks out, in Confideration both of their Danger, and of their Insensibility of it:
O that they were Wise, that they understood this,
that they would consider their latter End!
Whether by their latter End we are to understand that great and terrible Destruction which finally befel both themselves and their Country, in the loss of Jerusalem: Or, Whether with some, we shall interpret it of God's rejetting of them from his Covenant, from being what they were once, his own, peculiar Inheritance: Or, Whether Lastly, the more to heighten the Idea, we shall join them both
עיקר אכלו כל התורת +
See Munjier and Fagius
V., i, of this Chapter. Crit. M. Vol. I.